Effect of laser surface hardening on the microstructure, hardness and residual stresses of austempered ductile iron
A study of the laser surface hardening process of two austempered ductile iron grades, with different austempering treatments has been carried out.
Hardening was performed with an infrared continuous wave Nd:YAG laser in cylindrical specimens. The microstructure of the laser hardened samples was investigated using an optical microscope, microhardness profiles were measured and surface and radial residual stresses were studied by an X-ray diffractometer. Similar results were achieved for both materials. A coarse martensite with retained austenite structure was found in the treated area, resulting in a wear resistant effective layer of0.6 mmto1 mmwith a microhardness between 650 HV and 800 HV. Compressive residual stresses have been found at the hardened area being in agreement with the microhardness and microstructural variations observed. The achieved results point out that the laser surface hardening is a suitable method for improving the mechanical properties of austempered ductile irons such as wear resistance and fatigue strength.